Minneapolis Star Tribune Surprisingly Critical of Al Franken

September 24th, 2014 10:48 AM

The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a reputation for being so far left that they used to be referred to as the Red Star Tribune. Therefore it was somewhat surprising that the Star Tribune yesterday published an article that was not only somewhat critical of Franken but sounded some upbeat notes for his campaign opponent, Mike McFadden.

This is in stark contrast to an article early this month in the University of Minnesota student newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, which lavished praise upon Franken despite the fact he backed out of a campus debate and barely a word about McFadden who agreed to the debate. The tone of the Star Tribune article by Abby Simmons is set with the subheading:

In separate appearances at the University of Minnesota, Franken narrowed his message and McFadden showed fire.

McFadden showed fire? That is an improvement over the Invisible Man treatment given him by the student newspaper. What was a real surprise were the results of a Star Tribune poll which might be an indication that Franken's previously reported double digit lead over McFadden might not be very solid:

The appearances provided a glimpse into the strategy of the campaigns as they reach out to young voters, a key demographic that could play a major role in the 2014 Senate race. According to a Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, Franken and McFadden were tied at 39 percent among voters aged 18 to 34, while 20 percent remained undecided. While addressing the students, each candidate refrained from criticizing his opponent — rarely, if ever, mentioning the other by name.

Huh? Now that's really significant because shouldn't Franken be way in the lead with that age group? If this poll is accurate, it will be interesting to see the latest poll results for all age groups.

In addition to a refusal to debate on campus, the Star Tribune gives an indication of Franken's lack of interaction with young voters:

The students were engaged, with even Franken supporters expressing disappointment that he had declined to take part in a debate with McFadden, a confrontation they said would have filled hundreds more seats. They settled for a Franken speech and a question-and-answer period with McFadden.

Is this all this a refreshing sign that the Star Tribune is now willing to put aside its liberal bias in news articles or could it be that Franken and his sweet corn filibusters personally rubs even those who generally agree with his politics the wrong way?